3 Things to Look for in a Sleep Supplement

If you’re one of the 33 percent of Americans who don’t get enough sleep, you’ve probably been scoping the drug store aisles for something to help you fall asleep and stay that way. It’s commendable you’re taking steps to improve your situation, but it can be difficult to sort through all the options and figure out what’s best for you.

Many products look the same, and, if you’ve done any research before you’ve done your shopping, you’re also aware many of them can contain fillers and additives that don’t actually DO anything. Moreover, some companies throw in just a sprinkle of an ingredient. This ingredient “fairy dusting” isn’t in any studied or effective dose, it’s just in there so you can see it on the label.

Other companies add ingredients that don’t have any scientific backing. Or, if they do have scientific backing, there isn’t much, or enough to make solid claims.

Don’t worry though, it’s not all bad news. Here are three things you can look for in your sleep supplement to ensure you’ll get the results you want for the price you like.


Melatonin is a hormone made by your body, naturally. It’s produced by the pineal gland when your eyes detect darkness. Melatonin helps your body get ready for sleep by slowing your breathing rate and cooling your internal temperature. It also has an overall calming effect.

Melatonin is one of the most widely studied ingredients on the market. Most sleep supplements will include melatonin, but you need to look at the amount. Some will have too little and some will have too much. You want to look for a supplement that has 3-5mg or of melatonin. Otherwise, the dose is probably ineffective.  


This little ingredient is important to look for in your sleep supplement. Its full name is 5-Hydroxytryptophan, and it’s an amino acid your body produces naturally. One of the best effects of 5-HTP is that it can increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is an important hormone that regulates mood and feelings of happiness.

5-HTP can also increase melatonin production in the body. Studies have also found a combination of 5-HTP and GABA (which you’ll read about below) has a synergistic effect.  


Magnesium is another important ingredient in your sleep supplement. Most of us don’t get enough magnesium in our diets, especially because we don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables.  The body does not produce it by itself, so you need to get magnesium from food. It’s especially prevalent in leafy greens, seeds and nuts, and legumes. Some scientists estimate 50 percent of adult men and women in the US aren’t getting enough magnesium.

Magnesium does a lot of good for your body in general. It’s essential to your cell’s energy production, helps muscles function properly, and even plays a part in regulating blood pressure. For sleep, however, it works by maintaining healthy levels of GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep by telling your body to relax.

Look for a supplement that has around 200 mgs of magnesium.

Sleep Supplements Can Help

Sleep is hugely important to your physical and mental health. If you’re not getting enough, you’re putting yourself at risk for several health issues, including weight gain, diabetes, depression, and stroke.

A healthy diet, a weekly exercise regimen, and a good sleeping routine can help your sleep issues, but you can also benefit from looking for a good supplement. When you’re shopping, look for the three ingredients above, and you’ll be setting yourself up for sweet dreams!


3 Things to Look for in a Sleep Supplement